I have stayed at the JW Marriott Cherry Creek hotel in Denver, CO twice a year for the last 5 or so years, and it has always been great. I loved this place and actually enjoyed being on the road knowing I was staying at this property - until my last stay in early October. At first everything was, as always, great and once again I enjoyed my stay at this hotel, until I received the bill sent to me via e-mail once I departed. I was charged $250 for smoking in the room, but I don't smoke and I didn't smoke in this or any room in the hotel, EVER.
I called the property’s Accounting Department and the gentleman who took my call said that a "glass pipe with resin on it" had been found in my room after my departure and thus the reason for the charge. I tried repeatedly to explain that I do not smoke at all, or ever in the room and that the pipe was not mine to no avail. I tried to talk to the front desk manager who was "not available" so I left a message and never hear back. I tried to talk to Director of Operations at the property who was unavailable and has not returned my messages. They are eager to charge me but won’t talk to me.
What is truly troubling is that the hotel is assessing a $250 fee without any effort to reach out to me or demonstrate ANY customer service at all. No phone call, no attempt to contact me. no benefit of the doubt, no review of my many past stays (and behavior as a guest), no consideration of my patronage, no attempt to verify if I am even a smoker. No customer service, just a $250 charge. If a "glass pipe with resin on it" was found in the room it does not mean it is mine and even more importantly, it does not prove that I actually smoked in the room! More likely than not it proves the room was finally cleaned properly and this “pipe” which had been laying there for god knows how long was finally found.
Be aware that Denver's recreational marijuana laws bring in many people on business and pleasure looking to enjoy this local freedom and these people can stay in the same room as you. The staff of the hotel is providing a great disservice to the chain and the property by refusing to talk with me and charging me without consent or actual proof that smoking took place in the room. Should one now assume that if an actual smoker stayed in a room and left an empty cigarette box in the trash that this constitutes "evidence" of "rule violation" and "probable cause" for charging $250?
The reality is I do not smoke, cigarettes or marijuana, and I did not smoke in the room and the alleged pipe found by the "diligent" cleaning staff was not mine. And despite the fact that I frequent that property regularly and I am a Marriott Awards member, senior management can do nothing but disrespect me and treat me with contempt and animosity. I can understand a disagreement if there is an effort made to work it out. But no communication at all? Most disappointed by the senior managers' behavior at this hotel. No professionalism, no customer service, and no appreciation or care for my patronage. I loved the property but WILL NEVER GO BACK AGAIN. Beware, because this can happen to you too, whether you did or did not do something, is all up to what the cleaning staff finds after you leave regardless of what you actually did or who owns the property in question. Truly an utter failure and poor show all around by the senior management at this property.
Thank you for taking the time to share on the forum. I'm sorry to hear of your experience! I would like to share it with our team to see if they can get in touch with the hotel's management, and also discuss the $250 charge on your bill. Please send me a private message with your contact information (email or phone number) and Rewards number.
Also, I see that you're new around here so I'd like to welcome you to Insiders. As you may have already seen, its a great place to hear what other travelers like yourself are talking about. It's also a wonderful spot to share your travel experiences and recommendations. I am one of the moderators here along with carat , lindseyh and joshm . If you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to any of us. We're here to help
I've included a link to our 'Getting Started Guide,' if you'd like to take a look:
I look forward to receiving a message from you, and hearing more from you in the future.
Heard back from JW Marriott Cherry Creek, but only after I sent the original message I posted here to the hotel through the "Contact Us" tab on the property's website. Here is what Ms. McDowell said:
Good morning Mr. Bartoletti,
My apologies for not getting back to you sooner as I was out of the office for a few days.
We appreciate your long term loyalty to our property and deeply regret to hear about your latest experience.
The property follows strict guidelines when it comes to our non-smoking policy and after speaking with the housekeeping crew and manager on duty I believe the correct measures were taken. The room underwent a deep cleaning to make it sellable to the next guest.
Thank you again for your loyalty and all the best.
Director of Operations
JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek
150 Clayton Lane, Denver, CO 80206
P: 303 316 2700 F: 303 316 4697
Operated by Sage Hospitality Resources, LLC under license from Marriott International, Inc. or one of its affiliates
Just to be clear, the only reason she even bothered to e-mail me was because I have to literally chase the property management down to get any sort of acknowledgement or reply. Notice, the complete indifference and unwillingness to even address my concerns that the pipe was not mine and the hiding behind a "strict policy". While I cannot prove or disprove that a pipe was found in my room by the staff, I do know that I do not smoke, I did not smoke in the room or the hotel and that the room was as clean, smoke-free and sellable as it was when I checked in. All of this so JW Marriott can bilk me out of $250. Truly a sad and pathetic performance. I spent $561.13 on just the room (not counting the $90 at the property restaurant). I go there twice a year ($1,122.26) for the last 5 years ($5,611.30) and this highly questionable event, dubious assertion and $250 charge is worth it to the property staff? Mind you I am not bringing them tens of thousands of dollars and I have the lowest standing in the Marriott Rewards program, but $250 and the insult, contempt and indifference is really worth it to the property management? This is how Marriott want to represent its brand???
Agreed jerryl, this seems out of character for Marriott and a JW property at that. What Im seeing in this case is total dishonesty on behalf of the management. So they found a pipe, probably been in the room for awhile. They say they had to do a "deep cleaning", I call BS on that count, probably needed one, but not from bard's stay. That response email is cold and indifferent and totally smug towards a guest who has a legit argument.
Shame really, this type of thing is what poisons the brand...
When I see or hear something that is totally out of character with my experience and the reputation a site has, I can't help but wonder what is "the rest of the story".
For instance, they referred to a "deep cleaning" being necessary to make the room saleable. It that's true, the cost is justified.
More than once I've checked in to a non-smoking room and it was clear someone had been smoking. So I told the front desk and changed rooms. Seems likely that happened here. The next guest complained about the smell.
Does that mean bard did it? Nope. But if bard smelled the smoke and didn't complain and the next guest did, I can see where the hotel would conclude it was his fault.
Doesn't mean it was his fault, but it's a lesson learned. If you check into a non-smoking room and it smells, say something. Particularly in an anti-smoking area like Colorado (and most states surrounding Utah) and California.
As a final review on this issue I wanted to share what I learned, some pretty sad and surprising revelations. After the e-mail from the Director of Operations refusing to refund the charge, I contacted Sage Hospitality Resources and spoke with a woman who is responsible for the property in question. I told her all the things I mentioned above and she immediately took charge. She asked me to send her the last e-mail from the hotel and told me she was going to contact the VP at her firm, who directly supervises the hotel’s general manager, and the general manager of the hotel and have them resolve the issue and/or contact me. She then said if I did not have a resolution or hear from anyone to call her directly and that she would handle it personally. Finally, a real professional who understands customer service.
While I waited to hear back from the VP or hotel GM, I received another e-mail from the Director of Operations stating the refund would be forthcoming and case closed. I forwarded this e-mail to the woman at Sage Hospitality Group who I had communicated with and told her, in part, “As a business traveler, I have stayed in and dealt with the staff of enough hotels to know that this entire scenario should give you and Sage Hospitality Resources a great deal of concern. The Director of Operations for the property is not attending to the needs of the property’s clients. She is not communicating with the client, addressing client concerns, providing customer service or engaging in dispute resolution. Instead she is aggravating a situation she is paid to resolve. In fact, given the money I have spent at this hotel over the years, she is not helping the bottom line either. That so much time, effort and energy had to be spent resolving a simple issue, and that it was resolved by people outside of the hotel, demonstrates that this type of behavior is systemic at this property and not an anomaly.”
She responded in a very professional manner, apologized on behalf of all involved and thanked me for my patronage. Again, a true profession. Shortly thereafter the Director of Operations called me to “make nice” for the “misunderstanding”, but I would have none of it. In a professional, but frank manner, I pointed out all of her shortcoming and failures in handling this problem and reminded her that she created this situation. When I asked her what my room smelled like after I left, she admitted she never went into the room. When I asked her what the Manager on Duty smelled, she admitted the manager never went into the room. When I asked if any deep cleaning was done to the room “to make it sellable to the next guest.” she said no! So long and short I was charged $250 because somebody found a pipe. Terribly disappointing.
Finally, I asked her if she realized that had I worked for a large company, instead of myself, or the government, law enforcement or had a security clearance, etc. and my company’s accounting department handled the dispute, that this could have cost me my job. She was silent. Total cost in my billable time to dispute, try to get a call back, research, write up and resolve this issue? $5,000 (based on conservative time estimates) What a waste!
I would like to personally thank deannad along with her fellow moderators carat, lindseyh and joshm for all of your help regarding my issue with the Director of Operations at the JW Marriott Cherry Creek. The amount of frustration, time and effort expended to address this issue is mind boggling. Not to mention, the time that deannad and her group dedicated to resolving an issue that should have been resolved internally at the property.
What should have been a simple conversation between me and the Director of Operations turned into an ordeal because of her unwillingness to act in a professional manner and address my concern in an appropriate fashion. This entire scenario should give Sage Hospitality Resources, LLC, which manages the property under license from Marriott International, Inc., a great deal of concern as the Director of Operations for the property is not attending to the needs of the property’s clients. She is not communicating with the client, engaging in dispute resolution, providing customer service, addressing client concerns, instead she is aggravating a situation she is paid to resolve. That so much time, effort and energy had to be spent resolving a simple issue, and that it was resolved by people outside of the property, demonstrates that this type of behavior is systemic at this property and not an anomaly.
I am truly grateful that this issue was resolved by the moderator but very surprise that it took such an effort to do so. In the end, I will not stay at this property again as I do not believe its senior management is willing to carry out and exemplify by action the high standards of the Marriott Corporation. Thankfully, deannad understands this and is a shining example of the Marriott Standard of Customer Service Excellence. deannad thank you for your time, understanding and most of all – your professionalism. Job well done!
Negative INSIDERS Post -- **HIGH PRIORITY--24-48 HOUR RESPONSE TIME REQUIRED**
Good afternoon Mr. Bartoletti,
I completely understand your frustrations and certainly hear what you are saying and apologize for any inconveniences caused.
From what I gathered you disputed the fee with your credit card company and we certainly agree to accept the chargeback.
Thank you so much and have a fantastic day.
I am so glad this was resolved for you, and apologize that you had to go through all this trouble to reach a resolution.
I know I, as well as the other moderators, are happy to help when we can, so feel free to come to us at any time.
Thanks again, and all the best for your future stays at Marriott's.